Kathryn Wightman (NZ) – 2020 Finalist

Digital Parent, 2020
sifted and sintered glass powder
3660 x 5400 x 6
Photo: Michael McKeagg

Established Artist Category

Kathryn Wightman began working with glass as a student at the University of Sunderland, UK where she obtained a Bachelor of Art (Glass and Ceramics) (2000), followed by a Master of Arts (glass) (2005). In 2006 she was awarded a Craft Council placement to assist in establishing her creative practice. This led to PhD research undertaken at the University of Sunderland (2012), funded by the Arts Humanities Research Council, UK focusing on the integration of glassmaking and printmaking processes. Since completing her research Wightman has undertaken work as a visiting lecturer at the University of Sunderland. She has also worked as a glassmaker at the National Glass Centre, Sunderland. In 2012 she relocated to New Zealand to become a glass lecturer at the Wanganui Glass School. Since relocating to New Zealand she has won the Academic Gold Award at the Emerge Glass Prize (2014); the Ranamok Glass Prize (2014); the Young Glass Kvadrat Prize (2017) and the Whanganui Arts Review (2018). Previously a finalist in the FUSE Glass Prize 2016 and 2018, her work has also been selected for New Glass Review 33, 37 and 38. Wightman delivers workshops around the world and lectures in multiple creative areas across the University College of Learning Whanganui School of Creative Industries.

“Hundreds of hours of videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Around two billion monthly users access the website, including many children. As a mother of a young child and newborn, I am interested in scrutinizing this digitally connected world and the media it produces, which in turn informs the environment in which my children will grow up. The pattern recalls the familiar and reassuring designs of floral vintage wallpaper, intending to evoke feelings of security. The image transitions incrementally with patterning fading slowly from the top until it becomes uniformly green along the bottom edge. It mirrors an algorithmically generated web experience, beginning with the safe and familiar then slowly devolving into the strange, sinister and dangerous. Videos from YouTube are projected onto the work but only fragments can be discerned; the platform and its workings unable to be grasped solely through the content of the videos themselves.”